Sustainable Tourism Law

The mountain, a territory for a sustainable tourism law in France Valérie Augros Tourism development, as well as tourism law, have been comprehended through a new perspective over recent years, particularly considering climatic changes as well as growth of tourism exchange in the world. Hence a new approach to the development of touristic activities, known as sustainable tourism, was developed. Not only environmental consideration should be sought, but also ethical, social and economic stances have to be achieved. It often appeared that tourism was developed in fragile areas, such as coastlines, mountains, etc. Yet the success in number of visits may also have catastrophic consequences for the environment or ecosystem and a balance between economic and touristic development and environmental protection has to be found. To this end, the UNWTO adopted guidelines to assist States, tourism professionals, local populations and also travellers to adopt and/or to benefit from a sustainable approach that would make tourism to enter into a new era. 1 Such an approach is commonly followed nowadays in France, even though we cannot find as such any legal instrument specifically dedicated to sustainable tourism law. However, through many legal and regulatory instruments, it is possible to find awareness for a sustainable approach to protect distinctive and fragile areas. This is the case for French mountains, which have been the subject of special attention by the State for many years. Mountains represent about 23% of the French territory. They consist of six massifs including the Alps, the Pyrenees, the Massif Central, the Vosges, the Jura and Corsica. Out of about 36,000 municipalities in France, 6,200 are classified in mountains area. This vast mountainous territory has been the subject of significant tourism development, mainly based on skiing activities, for which we can identify more than 250 ski resorts. Currently, careful considerations are being taken to encompass inter alia an environmental and ethical approach in mountain tourism. 1 Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, UNWTO, Resolution A/RES/406(XIII).